Canva inks deal with Herff Jones, buys Kaleido AI and Smartmockups

Fast-growing graphics startup Canva has announced new acquisitions and partnerships. Canva has made two acquisitions in Europe: Vienna-based Kaleido AI (best-known for its service) and  Czech Republic-based Smartmockups.

The boot-strapped Kaleido, will enhance Canva’s platform with new integrations for advanced photo editing and AI-driven automation tools, to try and turn it into a ‘one-stop-shop for every design need’. The company said, in 2020, and were used by more than 100 million people from more than 180 countries to create more than a billion photos. and Unscreen remove backgrounds from photos and videos, respectively, with the click of a button.

Following the deal, Canva-owned Kaleido plans to recruit an additional 30 employees in Vienna to continue servicing clients such as The New York Times, Samsung, and Alibaba.

Andrew Nekvinda and Lukas Zajíc, the co-founders of Smartmockups

Smartmockups was founded in 2016 by Lukáš Zajíc and Andrew Nekvinda to enable users quickly create realistic design mockups ranging from t-shirts to flyers, mugs, books, magazines, and devices. The startup says more than 3 million mockups have been created by Smartmockups users in 2020 alone.

Following in the footsteps of Canva’s acquisition of Pexels and Pixabay in 2019, both Kaleido and Smartmockups will continue to operate autonomously from their existing locations in Europe, according to a report in Czech Crunch.

In other news, Canva inked a multi-year deal with Herff Jones to bring “unprecedented collaboration, creativity and customizable resources to Herff Jones’ core yearbook product.” Canva’s software will seamlessly integrate with Herff Jones’ yearbook creation program, eDesign, beginning with school year 2022, the announcement said.

Herff Jones’ reputation of excellence in the yearbook market enters a new era with the addition of Canva’s simple drag-and-drop interface and their powerful image editing capabilities along with access to their vast collection of created content – including illustrations, backgrounds, infographics and more,” said Steve Down, president, Herff Jones. “For our yearbook customers, this collaboration – a meeting at the crossroads of tradition and modernity – will offer the flexibility and the simplicity of transitioning their designs from the platform to print with ease and quality as they capture the essence of the year’s student experience in their books. More generally, our partnership with Canva – with their more than 30 million monthly active users in 190 countries and 7 million in the K-12 space already – strongly affirms that Herff Jones’ commitment to innovation and serving our customers is as strong as ever.”

Aaron Day, Global Partnership Lead at Canva, added: “In partnering with Herff Jones, Canva is aligning with the most trusted name in capturing and celebrating student milestones in North America. Yearbook is a powerful storytelling medium, capturing the history of one year to be shared for generations, and it is often in yearbook where many designers begin their journey. We are excited about the opportunity to bring even more value to K-12 schools through this collaboration, fueling our passion for making design accessible for all, while also inspiring creativity and teamwork.”